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March 13, 2010

Sloane Stephens


V. ZVONAREVA/S. Stephens
6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You get your first win the other day, and you take the defending champion to a really good match. Tonight what did you learn about yourself and your game from this match?
SLOANE STEPHENS: That I can play with pretty good girls. At first I was so nervous, and I just -- like I was calling everyone. I was asking my agents, everyone, John, Donald, everyone. I was like, I'm so nervous. I was like, There's so many people out there, like whatever, like all the things that come with playing on center court.
I was so nervous, but, like, I learned that I can stick like with these girls and I'm not, like, as bad as I thought. (laughter.)
But that I can actually play pretty decent tennis.

Q. At what point did those nerves go away for you and it was just a match?
SLOANE STEPHENS: When the people started cheering really loud, and then I realized that it wasn't that bad. A lot of the people, they were screaming out random things. It was kind of funny, but it made me relax a lot, and that was good.

Q. Did you get to practice on the stadium?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I hit yesterday morning on the stadium early, and it was really early morning. There was absolutely no one there. There was just me and my coach and a hitter and his coach, and there was no one there. I didn't really get a feel for, like, the court and the people and everything.
It was in the morning, so it wasn't at night and I didn't play under lights or anything and I haven't hit under lights before, so it was a little bit different, but...

Q. What did they yell at you that made you laugh and relax?
SLOANE STEPHENS: There was some guy at the top, and he kept saying -- he was, like -- he's like, We can do this. And I was like "we," as in me and you together can do this. And he just kept saying "we," like "we" are going to do this; like, We can do this. We're going to break.
I'm just like, Okay. Like, I guess we are doing this together. It was funny, but it was really encouraging, so that was good.

Q. Looked like the second set she really tried to change the pace and play more heavy, heavy topspin. What did you think about that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, she tried to change it up a lot. She was looping, and then she hit some slow serves and hard serves, and she mixed it up a lot in the second. I was up and had some chances, but I couldn't really stick with it.
But I had a game plan going out there, and it worked to a certain point. I'm proud of the way I played, and it was my first big match on center. So the way that she played was the way that she played. She's a world-class player. She won this tournament, so she knows what she's doing.

Q. Can you tell us more about you, and are you going to school?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I'm home-schooled, and I travel a lot for tennis and things like that. But my birthday is next Saturday. I'm going to be 17. I'm a big Washington fan. They won Pac 10 today, just so you guys know.
I'm home-schooled; I live in LA; I train at the Home Depot Center, USTA, and my coach is Roger Smith.

Q. You're from where?
SLOANE STEPHENS: LA; I live in LA now.

Q. Because I saw Fort Lauderdale.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I live in Fort Lauderdale, but I train at Carson at the Home Depot Center with the USTA. But I do live in Florida.

Q. Your coach is Nick Saviano?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I go back and forth between USTA and Nick Saviano.

Q. You will have a workout in Miami for the qualifying?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It wasn't on my schedule to play, but hopefully I can get a wildcard in there. I'm hoping. We'll see how it goes.

Q. Maybe a wild card for your birthday.
SLOANE STEPHENS: For my birthday. That would be nice, very, very nice of them.

Q. Who inspired you at the beginning?
SLOANE STEPHENS: My stepdad who played -- we live across the street from a country club, and he passed away from duodenum cancer a few years ago.
But he was one my biggest inspirations for playing. Still is. Current.

Q. What was his name?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Sheldon Farrell.

Q. You play the junior tournament in US Open the same week?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, no, that was my biological father.

Q. Why are you a Washington fan if you live in LA or Fort Lauderdale?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Because I have a good friend who goes to Washington, and he's a senior and he's really good. Over the years, like, I just remember like when he first went to Washington. I wasn't a basketball fan then so I was like, whatever.
But then he started doing good, and I kind of was, like, Oh, Washington that's great. I got to know everyone on the team, and I can name all the players. I was following it today before my match.

Q. Is that why you wear purple?
SLOANE STEPHENS: That's why I'm wearing purple today. All purple, Yeah, UDub all the way. Before my match I was so nervous, and that was one of the things that helped me calm down. I wanted them to win so badly. I was so nervous and I was just freaking out.
But they won. They got the big W, so at least someone did tonight.

Q. What is your goal in life?
SLOANE STEPHENS: My goal in life is to be the best person that I can be as a human being and helping others and doing the right things and moving in the right direction. That's it.

Q. Did you read Serena's biography?

Q. Yeah.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I did read it. I like the little inscriptions she has, like her little match -- yeah, I like them a lot. She really has a really strong personality. She's a great woman, and I think that book is really something that everyone should read.

Q. Ryan Harrison was talking earlier about the difference between juniors and pros and how the attitudes are different and the level. What have you seen so far?
SLOANE STEPHENS: The junior girls, they're up and down emotionally. There's not much. If you won a junior Slam, that's huge. But some of the girls kind of -- they play some and then they don't play some and they really don't care, and then they care. Like, it's very up and down.
But when you get closer to the tournaments -- I mean, not closer to the tournaments, deeper into the tournaments, everyone's obviously fighting because they're decent players. There are some top juniors, but the first rounds of the tournament aren't really -- I mean, they're good, because, you know, they're decent players. But some of them just don't even -- if you get up 3-0 or 2-0, they totally give up basically.
The pros are like you're fighting for your life out there. I mean, people do this for a living. I'm 16. I never had to experience that before. But now that I'm pro, I guess I'm experiencing life-changing things.

Q. He said almost the same things you just said.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. Juniors, they're just -- they're young. They're immature. I mean, some of the girls here are way older than me. They're like 30 years old. I'm 16. They've been out here for a while, and they're playing -- they're playing for, like, that's how they eat. That's their money, prize money and things like that.
And juniors, there's really nothing at stake for them, so they really just play and they're just representing their country and, you know, happy to be there.

Q. Do you know how many big tournaments you can play in WTA? Is there a limit for you this year?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think I can play 16 or 17. So I'm going to have to play the junior Slams and things like that, because you can only play a certain amount.

Q. So you will play the junior Slams?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, that's one of my goals is to do well at the French because it's one of my favorite tournaments. So hopefully I can do well there again.

Q. How many other junior tournaments will you play this year?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I'll play the French, Wimbledon, US Open, maybe Osaka at the end of the year. After that -- I mean, not many, but a good amount.

Q. Do you know what your ranking will go to by winning a match? Has anybody told you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, do you know?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I can enter -- I learned that in ProU. Write that down so Ashley and Thomas can read it.

Q. What is your goal for your tennis career?
SLOANE STEPHENS: My goal for my tennis career is to be the best player that I can be personally, not -- I don't want to do the whole No. 1 in the world thing, because that's -- I mean, everyone wants to be No. 1 in the world.
If I get there, that would be awesome. But if I don't, I know that I worked really hard to wherever I'm going to get. If 360 is it, then I guess that would be it. Just be the best player I can be and work as hard as I can to get to where I need to go.

Q. You are very athletic. Do you do other sports?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. I don't like any physical contact. I don't like soccer. I don't like sweaty people touching me and things like that. (laughter.) I stick to tennis, individual sport, and you stay on that side and I stay on this side.

Q. What was the name of your friend at Washington?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Quincy Pondexter. He's pretty good, huh?

Q. Yeah, I follow him. I went to Arizona.
SLOANE STEPHENS: He's really good. So hopefully he's going to have -- they go to the NCAA tournament now, so hopefully they can have a good tournament. I'm excited.

Q. Do you have your driver's license and everything?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, wow. I've had my permit for two years, and I attempted to go take the driver's license driving test. I didn't realize that I needed my, like, social security card, my passport and, like, residential proof and all this stuff.
And I just, like, showed up with my permit, and the lady was like, What are you doing here? So I did attempt to go get it, but it was a fail. I have my permit, though. I can drive with someone 21 or older.

Q. Was that in California or Florida?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, in Florida. I live in Florida. Like my official residence is in Florida. Our house is there and everything. Usually pretty nice, but the lady was hardcore. She was like, No way.

Q. I spoke to you when you told me...
SLOANE STEPHENS: You followed me on Twitter?

Q. Where were you on Twitter, by the way?
SLOANE STEPHENS: You followed me on Twitter.

Q. You said you were going to go. You haven't --

Q. I am James.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I follow your tweets. I was waiting -- I basically got Twitter, and I'm going to start Twitter blah, blah, blah, and then I gave up -- for Lent I gave up Facebook, so I was like, I might as well give up everything.
So I was just like, you know, I just -- I'm trying to get away from, like, the Internet things and being so obsessed and focus on school. But it just didn't happen. Now that I have a lot of followers I'm going to start tweeting.

Q. You beat Venus, you won in Italy, you helped win Fed Cup. How does Indian Wells rank now amongst your experiences?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Indian Wells is pretty big, because I actually played a match on center court at night against Vera Zvonareva. That's high on the list, and I won a few challenges, like, with the Hawk-Eye, so that's pretty good.

Q. Something to tweet about?
SLOANE STEPHENS: That is something to tweet about. I should have picked the court or something. But maybe I'll go out there and watch play Mardy play and at tweet, whatever it's called.

Q. Did you watch Pete and Andre last night?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I didn't. I didn't. I was watching University of Washington. They played at 8:30. But I heard there was some good stuff, and Gimelstob I guess compensated. Sam gave me the run down, the play-by-play on everything. He's my little eye in the sky. I heard about it.

Q. Does a girl like Melanie Oudin push you to believe in yourself?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Of course. Melanie, she's a great player and she's such a good girl. She's so nice. I think all of us really -- like all of the younger junior girls pushed each other because we trained a lot. Melanie, Melanie is a lot older than us, so for her to do well is like, okay, we can, like, do something. We can actually win matches on the tour, so she is definitely motivational of icon. Yeah.

End of FastScripts

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